SWARTZ CREEK – After months of bittersweet anticipation, the Swartz Creek Police Department’s new K-9 recruit has arrived.
Rosco, a 21-month-old German shepherd with a shiny black coat and tan paws, arrived Sept. 3 from Poland.
He came with a Polish name, but Officer Nick Paul, his handler, decided to change it because, “sometimes, you just look at a dog and know.”
“He’s going to be a real good dog,” said Paul. “He has a strong drive and he’s real curious. He’s a nice dog, playful and really energetic.”
Rosco is taking over for Ike who is now enjoying retirement at Paul’s home. Ike, a 10-year-old German shepherd, served the SCPD for eight years.
Paul and Rosco began a five-week training course at Mid Michigan Kennels in Eaton Rapids on Monday. Rosco will learn obedience, tracking, narcotics detection and handler protection.
He knows a few basic commands in Polish, so he’ll have to relearn those in English, unlike his predecessor who took commands in Czech throughout his career.
Rosco and his training will cost about $10,000. The funds, plus a little extra to help pay for Rosco’s upkeep, came from private donations and contributions from such groups as the Veteran’s Memorial Committee and Friends, and the GFWC – Swartz Creek Women’s Club.
The cost includes additional training through the life of the dog, plus a three-year health warranty and a oneyear work warranty, meaning if Paul and Rosco don’t bond, the kennel will provide a new dog.
“That’s not going to be an issue, though,” said Paul. “The dog already loves me.”
Rosco also is getting along pretty well with Ike, who is still adjusting to retirement.
“We went on vacation in July, and he did not return to work after that,” said Paul. “(Aug. 31) was the first day he didn’t try to leave with me when I got ready for work. Ike’s old. He was slowing down. This is a stressful life for a dog.”